AT LEAST 33 people have been killed in a powerful earthquake that hit the south of Iran this afternoon, according to authorities.
The 6.3-magnitude quake struck at about 11.52am (Irish time) today, about 100 kilometres from the Bushehr nuclear plant.
The epicentre of the quake was the city of Kaki. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said it was sending rescue teams to the mountainous area. Ambulances have also been deployed from Tehran.
The Persian Gulf Arab states of Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates felt the shocks from the quake, as did Bushehr.
The government-run Press TV reported that the Russian company which constructed the Bushehr nuclear facility said the quake did not affect operations.
The governor of the region also told reporters that the plant was undamaged.
According to the US Geological Suvey, the earthquake occurred as result of northeast-southwest oriented thrust-type motion in the shallow crust of the Arabian plate.
Over the past four decades, five seismic events of magnitude six or greater have occurred within a 300 kilometre zone of today’s quake. The closest was a 6.1 shake on 1 March 1994, which killed about 50 people.